44033 Lt Col Vernon William BARLOW, DSO*, OBE, MiD, KSLI: CO 6th Battalion Parachute Regiment

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by arnhem2280, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. arnhem2280

    arnhem2280 Member


    Can anyone help please. I am attempting to find citations for the above named who was at one stage CO of the 6th Battalion.
    As a Lt/Col he was awarded a DSO L/G 10/5/45 for his actions in Greece. He had earlier been awarded an OBE for his actions in Italy L/G 21/12/44 and before that an MID which is in the L/G on 15/12/42 which was for the ME theatre. At this time he may have been attached to either the LRDG or the SAS
    He was later awarded a bar to his DSO for his actions in Korea.

    He took part in Op Dragoon as the CO of the 6th Battalion.

    I cannot find the first DSO and OBE citation in the National Archives but have been able to find the citation for the bar to his DSO at the NA. Given that his DSO was for Greece it is quite possible that it might have been buried as the civil war became a bit of an embarrassment post WW2.

    If anyone knows whwre the citations for the DSO and OBE then I would be very interested in seeing them. Any other information on Vernon Barlow would be greatly appreciated.


  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
    Tony56 and stolpi like this.
  3. arnhem2280

    arnhem2280 Member

    Thanks very much dbf. Your clearly better at finding citations at the pro than me!


  4. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    Extracted from DSOs register 1944-1945.


    His citation, like many others on that time in Greece is sadly unaccounted for.

    However, as every single person listed below him on page 2455 of the LG for 10 May 1945 and carried over to 2456 (except 5 probables) was awarded a medal for their exploits in Greece.

    So it stands to reason that he got the DSO during the same period.

    If you can get a hold of copy of "Oft in Danger" by Jonathan Riley you will get a good idea of what 6 Para were up against in Greece.

    2 Para Bde (4, 5 & 6 Para) and 23rd Armd Bde (40, 46 & 50 RTR) took the brunt of the casualties during counter insurgency operations in Athens, December 1944 to January 1945.

    Hope this helps

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
    stolpi and dbf like this.
  5. AndyBaldEagle

    AndyBaldEagle Very Senior Member

    His OBE Citation transcribed - Also note his first name as on the citation- not sure where Vernon comes from unless of course the originator of the citation got the first name wrong!

    Lieutenant Colonel 44033 Victor William BARLOW Kings Shropshire Light Infantry – 6th Parachute Battalion LG 21/12/1944

    Lieutenant Colonel Barlow assumed command of 6th Parachute Battalion in September 1943. The battalion on 9th/10th September 1943 was in His Majesties Ship Abdiel at the landing at Taranto when she was sunk. The battalion lost its commanding officer, several senior officers and Non Commissioned Officers. Lieutenant Colonel Barlow was drawn in from 4th Parachute Brigade to reform the 6th Parachute Battalion and prepare in the field for further immediate operations. This he did with skill and common sense with little time available to do it in and no reinforcements. Since Lieutenant Colonel Barlow has been in command he has commanded his battalion in the line exceedingly well. He has shown initiative and commonsense above average and the whole handling of his battalion during its 5 ½ months in the line, with little rest, has been of the highest order.

    According to Companions of the DSO by Doug Hearns there is no citation for his 1st DSO but there is for the Bar awarded for service in Korea with KSLI. Unfortunately citations for MIDs are not as common as we would all wish for!

    Hope this helps in some small way

    dbf likes this.
  6. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member


    Extraced from Gloucestershire Echo 02 Jan 45..



    It looks like Brig Prichard put Victor on the OBE recommendation form and the mistake carried on from there.

    Last edited: Jul 28, 2020
    dbf and JimHerriot like this.
  7. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Found the correction in LG.


    dbf likes this.
  8. arnhem2280

    arnhem2280 Member

    Thanks very much to everyone who has helped out with this. Maybe at some time in the future the citations or awards in Greece will surface. I know ver few MID citations exist, I think Major Barlow's was for service with the SAS when he was a Lt but so far cannot confirm it.


  9. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    For Arnhem 2280, dbf, Gus (gmyles), AndyBaldEagle, and all other folks that have an interest (with apologies for tardy response).

    Arnhem, if you haven't tried this route already, it may be worth contacting the folks at the museum here; Contact Us: - Soldiers of Shropshire

    They may well have information that can help in your quest, especially if they hold photographs of Lt. Col. Barlow with SAS (operational) wings up, which if so then SAS Regimental Association may be worth a shout (and if you've been down these roads already, apologies).

    Also, I think the by then Brigadier's last command with the Army (June '58 to June '60) would have been as OIC 159 Infantry Brigade (TA) based in Worcester, so that may be another route to go down for photo evidence of SAS wings (Brigadier Barlow came off the reserve list on 5th November 1967 having attained age limit for liability for recall).

    As for the citations for service in Greece with 6th (Royal Welch) Parachute Battalion, please see the attachments below from (as Gus mentioned above) "Oft in Danger" by Jonathon Riley, Chapter 5, "The 6th Battalion in Italy and Greece" (bits of which may be familiar as posted on a previous thread re missing MC citation of T Farrar-Hockley).

    Said "missing' citations for this period in Greece may be in the TNA somewhere, but it is definitely a case of not only the needle, but which haystack to start in.

    I've also included, to finish, the words that TFH contributed to the July '76 Pegasus by way of a combined obit. It says much more about all of these good men than I ever could.

    Good luck with the hunt.

    Kind regards, always,






    Extracted from Pegasus Journal July 1976, written by a man who knew them all ( Bill Barlow references in bold)

    Brigadier C. H. Vaughan (formerly Pritchard) Brigadier V. W. Barlow Lt-Col David Hunter Members of the 4th, 5th and 6th Battalions and indeed those of the 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade as a whole-will be sad to learn of the deaths of three of their former commanders: Brig C. H. V. Pritchard, Brig Bill Barlow and Lt-Col David Hunter.
    The first of these raised the 6th Battalion from a combination of the 10th and 11th Battalions, Royal Welch Fusiliers. The number of volunteers from these two units was so great as to cause the King to agree that the title of the new unit should include the words "Royal Welch". The then Lt-Col Pritchard, a regular Royal Welch Fusilier, threw himself completely into transformation to the parachute role; and there can be few if any of those who served in the early days at Newcome Lines, Larkhill, who were not galvanised by his energy and enthusiasm. Outspoken in his criticism of his officers and soldiers, he earned the respect of them all by the high professional standards he set and kept personally.
    When deputy brigade commanders were appointed in 1943, he was chosen for that role in 2nd Brigade and inevitably succeeded as brigade commander when Gen Down was promoted to command 1st Airborne Division. With the division's departure from Italy in the autumn of 1943, Brig Pritchard became the C-in-C's airborne adviser as well as his airborne force commander. Knowing well the capability of his soldiers, he offered to remain in the winter line for a prolonged period to ease the roulement of other formations and thrice the brigade relieved complete divisions. In almost six and a half months, 2nd Independent Parachute Brigade enjoyed only nine days in total out of the line.

    Meantime, at the end of the Sicily phase of operations David Hunter had taken over the 5th (Scottish). The vacancy arose when Charles MacKenzie left for divisional headquarters. David Hunter came from the post of brigade major of the 1st Parachute Brigade and had by that time won an MC in course of acquiring a good deal of operational experience. Despite early service in the Liverpool Scottish, he was to all intents and appearances an Englishman and an outsider. He was also something of a whiz-kid, full of energy and new ideas. It took some time before the Battalion as a whole were ready to acknowledge him as their own. His high capabilities from the moment of entering operations broke all final barriers, however. As it happened, he commanded the Battalion throughout its entire period of active operations in the war.

    Bill Barlow was brought to command the 6th Battalion in the latter part of 1943 from the 4th Brigade, after the Abdiel disaster. A regular officer of the KSLI, a noted amateur steeplechase rider before the war, his coolness under fire, his practical, common sense ways and quiet humour quickly won the affection of the Royal Welch. There was no happier Battalion in airborne forces and this condition stemmed from Bill Barlow.

    These three officers, leading their troops through diverse forms of operations, including two airborne operations, seemed men of considerable maturity. By peacetime criteria, they would have been company commanders : Brig Pritchard was 37 on appointment, Barlow 33 and Hunter 29.

    At the end of the war, David Hunter returned to a distinguished career with Imperial Chemical Industry's.

    Bill Barlow passed to command 1st KSLI in Korea, where his talent as a battle commander was again seen to great advantage. He was later to command a Territorial brigade before retiring.

    Brig Pritchard became Commander, Airborne Establishments at Aldershot, responsible for the depot, training battalions and other units maintaining the trained manpower of 1st Airborne Division. He retired in 1949 and succeeded to the estate of his uncle, Gen Vaughan, in the Dolgelly area.

    In origin and character all utterly different yet for a time in partnership as commanders of airborne forces, the three pass now finally out of our lives but surely not out of affections and for one, at least, grateful memory.

    Anthony Farrar-Hockley.

    Always remember, never forget,

    Last edited: Jul 31, 2020
    BrianHall1963 and dbf like this.

Share This Page